German influences on Dutch church music after 1800

by Han Leentvaar | Het ORGEL | Year 93 | (1997) | Issue 6

Jan R. Luth

German influences on Dutch church music after 1800

Het ORGEL 93 (1997), nr. 9, 29-36 [summary]

After 1800 German musicians influenced Dutch church music especially through their pupils Bastiaans and Van Eijken. Johannes Gijsbertus Bastiaans (1812-1875) studied at Dessau with Friedrich Schneider and at Leipzig with Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Conrad Friedrich Becker. Johannes Albertus van Eijken (1823-1868) studied at Leipzig with Mendelssohn, Becker and Hauptmann and next at Dresden with Johann Gottlob Schneider and Reissiger.

Johann Adam Hiller (1728-1804) was at the time a progressive church musician. He altered old melodies, pled for 4/4 time and replaced the modes with major and minor scales. The interludes, which were customary in the 18th century, fulfilled only a practical function, in Hiller’s opinion. Carl Ferdinand Becker (1804-1877) focused on the contrary on the 16th and 17th centuries, but was opposed to the playing of interludes. Friedrich Schneider (1786-1853) advocated congregational singing in parts, which was criticised after 1800. Playing interludes was a matter of course to him.

Several German influences are noticeable in the Netherlands, like the typical German preference for a capella singing. Like Becker, Bastiaans focused on the 16th century (Goudimel). He published two chorale books and advised 12 different accompaniment techniques. Goudimel was also important to Van Eijken. Another example of German influence was the attention of Van Eijken and Bastiaans to modes. Van Eijken and Bastiaans did not agree on every topic: Van Eijken defended interlude playing, Bastiaans rejected it. German influences cannot be detected in all areas.

Van Eijken’s and Bastiaans’s registration suggestions are so general that comparison with German habits would serve no purpose.